The affected customers experienced one to two days of symptoms, which include vomiting and diarrhea, about 24 to 36 hours after eating at the restaurant, the health department reported.

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More than 400 patrons of two El Toro restaurants in Pierce County contracted norovirus in an outbreak that has now been confirmed by laboratory testing, according to the county’s health department.

The outbreak of the virus, which is often the cause of mass illness on cruise ships, was reported at the restaurant chain’s locations in University Place and at the Tacoma location in Westgate, according to the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.

The health department began receiving reports of possible food poisoning on Jan. 5 from customers in separate households who had eaten at the Tacoma restaurant between Dec. 31 and Jan. 2. Earlier this week, the department learned of suspected cases at the University Place location from customers who had eaten there this past weekend.

The affected customers experienced one or two days of symptoms, which include vomiting and diarrhea, about 24 to 36 hours after eating at the restaurant, the health department reported.

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The health department says nearly 400 customers became ill after eating at the restaurant’s Tacoma location at 5716 North 26th Street and 10 to 15 people were sickened after dining at the one at 3820 Bridgeport Way in University Place.

A lab test identified the norovirus as the culprit in the Tacoma outbreak, but tests are still pending for the University Place location illnesses, according to the health department.

“We continue to receive more reports and interview more customers,” the health department wrote on its website Wednesday.

Both restaurants were closed for at least one day for thorough cleaning and sanitation, the department said. They have since reopened.

The virus can be spread for 24 hours before symptoms appear.

If you ate at an El Toro restaurant and became ill, contact the Health Department at food@tpchd.org, report online at www.tpchd.org/reportfoodborneillness, or call 253-798-4712.

The health department’s website has tips for dealing with illness, including careful disposal of vomit and excrement, wiping down all hard surfaces with bleach, and washing hands carefully, especially after cleaning, eating or using the restroom.